Tuesday, October 9, 2012

terry, it's you he is talking about

Let me suggest something that many conservatives realized after the debate:Obama did not do that badly. For Obama. He was the same listless, droning, exhausted-of-ideas scold we have seen for at least two years now (and maybe three).
He was Obama. This is what he is. He is not quick-witted. He is not, as I think I saw Mickey Kaus note, a wonk. He has never been a wonk, a detailed-policy guy.
He is a guy who speaks vacuously of hopes and dreams and change and fairness.
He always has been.
The problem, for the liberals, is not Obama. This is what you bought. This is your guy. It wasn't his A game, but it was something close to his B+ game.
The problem was Romney, who was commanding, fluent, reasonable, articulate, sharp-witted, warm, occasionally funny, full of ideas, full of facts, full of thoughtful, detailed criticisms of Obama policy (who the hell expected him to bring up, as an afterthought, Dodd-Frank's failure to specify what a "reasonably qualified" mortgage applicant was, and how that chilled lending? Obama sure didn't!), and, therefore, ultimately, full of qualification for the job and yes, full of gravitas.
That's the problem.
Not Obama. I repeat: This is who Obama is. He has never been this brilliant intellect and keen policy analysts liberals have, in their BubbleWorld, dreamed him as.
The problem is not that Obama is or was awful. The problem is that he is what he always is -- adequate and hardly ever more -- and Romney is actually on top of things, an accomplished executive with a winner's thirst for victory an an A-student's understanding of what victory requires.
So part of the extreme emotional deflation of people like Sullivan -- who only a few years ago called me a "frothing Caesarist" (I take that to mean a lickspittle for a Man on a White Horse) -- is due to their having invented in their minds a conquering hero, an Eternal Champion, a Mussolini-like figure of incredible prowess in all matters including sexual ("Mussolini breaks a new horse every day, and a new woman every night," an old Fascist saying went).
And he's never been that. He's been a very average politician, whose only above-average skill is giving a scripted, TelePrompTed address to people who already support him.
So for people like Sullivan, this is a bit of a bitchslap to their entire fantasy worldview, the day they saw Obama As What He Is rather than What They Fantasized Him To Be.
And they're shocked by this. They feel their psychical mooring-lines stretching to the break.
This is partly Obama's fault, of course. He encouraged this.
But it is much, much more the fault of people who pride themselves on being skeptical realists who permitted their minds to run to the magical and to the (frankly, blasphemously) religious.
I hate to defend Obama at all, but I have to say to his Religious Zealot supporters:This is your shit. This is your deeply weird, Great Man on a White Horse worshipping psychological hangup.

1 comment:

Baxter said...

I don't agree with a word that Jim wrote, but I enjoyed reading his prose. It's far better than an IBD cut and paste and it has an angle.

He was far too hard on Bam and too complimentary of Mitt - it didn't point out that Mitt's elective office resume would be the thinnest of any president in the last 100 years (save for Eisenhower, who spent his life in government service). He didn't tell us why a good businessman would be well suited for the presidency - Congress is hardly a board of directors or group of subordinate employees.

Mitt did prepare better much better than Obama did for the first debate. Good for Mitt and shame on Obama.

Obama is a policy wonk. He is an intellectual. He is professorial and he eschews the trapping of politics. He doesn't schmooze and he doesn't court donors. Bill Maher never received so much as a thank you call for his $1 million. Frankly, it appears that his indifference to conventional politics has worked just fine.

So - it's the fourth quarter. He'd better get his game on. It's his to lose, but Mitt is standing at the ready if the president falls down. We love No Drama Obama but he needs to defend his excellent record. When Romney says he doubled the deficit, he needs to point out that is a lie - he actually cut the inherited deficit ($1.4T to $1.1T), something that Reagan and Bush could never say.